In support of Modern Salon's Healthy Hairdresser Initiative, I will now be posting once per week on a fitness and wellness-related topic that is to be of interest to salon professionals.

In addition to my cosmetology and barber education, I am also a certified personal fitness trainer.  I work specifically with salon professionals to help them maximize their health, wellness and fitness for long, healthy and productive beauty careers.

I look forward to your thoughts, ideas and feedback on this series.

Remember, you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of you!

Heart rate, Track it!

I think I know.  I have a gut feeling about this.  Thinking and feeling is nice, but data is the way to go.

Strapping on a fitness tracker is a good idea for you for managing your fitness activity.  Fitness trackers are getting better with every new generation introduced and every updated model offered.

I recently began wearing the new Polar A360 touch screen, full color fitness tracker.  It includes a built-in at-the-wrist heart rate monitor. It provides 5 zone heart rate monitoring of exercise sessions.  It reports steps, percentage of daily activity achieved, max heart rate and average heart rate for sessions and more.  It offers inactivity warnings when you are not moving enough.  The interface with the phone app is great, too.  This is not a product review.  That might be for another posting.  This posting is about why you might want any tracker and how it might be helpful.

If your goal is to lose weight it is important that your cardio activities get your heart rate up enough, but not up too high.  Ideally you want to work out between 70 and 90% of your max heart rate.  You need to know your max.  You need to know your 70 to 90 zone rate values… and most importantly, as you are working out, you need to know where your heart rate is at.

In the past the trackers that measured heart rate at the wrist were not as accurate as one might hope.  The newer ones are much better.  In testing my unit was spot-on accurate with the monitors on a number of cardio machines in the club where I work out and in the club where I work.  I also have a second unit that I use for working with clients.  This unit uses the preferred chest strap heart pick-up.  My wrist unit reads spot on with that one, too.  I feel I can be very confident in the readings I get form my wrist measured tracker, You will likely experience similar accuracy.

A big benefit of using a tracker is the data you will accumulate over time.  The data from the wrist unit syncs to my phone and the app I have there.  The data lets me track my workouts, my progress and my efforts.  Now instead of thinking I had a great workout, I KNOW I did.

Many cardio junkies live to hop on a machine and go flat out for an hour.  They think it is great.  Truth is that if their heart rate is too high… over 90% of their heart rate maximum they are not burning fat very efficiently.  They are burning muscle.  They work hard to build that muscle and then consume it with workouts at too high a heart rate.  Throttling back a bit to stay in an active and effective burn zone will maximize fat burning and exercise benefit (if that is the benefit you are seeking).  If you are seeking to build muscle power and endurance as in training for a 10K or longer race you do want to get up into the 90%+ zone.  But you do not want to be there too long. You want to do high intensity intervals.  Running your rate up and then backing it off.

There is a lot more to heart tare training… too much to cover in just a short post. The first steps are understanding the role that heart rate tracking plays and then getting a device for tracking it.  Perhaps a fitness and heart rate tracker is a good tool for you.

Get healthy, stay healthy


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